|THE LIFE AND CHESS OF PAUL MORPHY First American Chess Congress|
The First American Chess Congress of 1857
The congress consisted of three separate tournaments: the Grand Tournament, the Minor Tournament and the Problem Tournament. note 7
On the evening before the tournament - October 5 - the club was open for a casual meeting of the players note 8 and others interested in the tournament. Many off-hand games were played. Morphy engaged Frederick Perrin, the secretary of the New York Club, in two games. Morphy won the first, but as the second game began, Charles Stanley entered the club and Perrin graciously deferred to Stanley allowing him to play Morphy.
Frederick Edges wrote:
Stanley lost four games in a row.
The Chess Monthly wrote in the December issue:
According to the Prospectus, the contestants were to meet Monday, October 5, at 3:00 p.m. where they would be paired of by lot. The eight players who won three out of five games would proceed to the next phase, the losers would drop out. The eight winners would be paired off, then the four winners. The two who won the final phase would play a match to determine first and second place, while the two who lost would play a match to determine third and fourth place. However, at the meeting on Monday, there was some debate about whether this was a desirable format. It was finally agreed to let the stated format stand and the lottery would take place on Tuesday, October 6.
On October 6, at 11:00 a.m. the participants met at the Descombes Rooms at 764 Broadway between 8th and 9th Streets (which was later the site of Wanamaker's Dept. Store until it, in turn, was divided into separate units). The congress was originally slated to be held at the New York Chess Club, but it proved too small.
The congress ran through November 10 (with an awards ceremony on November 11) the results of the congress are as follows:
After the first round, Morphy and Paulsen both had some time to spare waiting for the others to finish. Paulsen announced that on Saturday, October 10, he would give a four board blindfold exhibition. He invited Morphy to take on of the boards, which Morphy accepted on the condition that he, too, play blindfold. C.H. Shultz, W.J.A. Fuller and Denis Julien played the other three boards. The result was +2-1=1, The loss was against Morphy and the draw was against Julien.
This Denis Julien was also the proprietor of the St. Denis Hotel. On the following Saturday, October 17, the entire Congress was treated to dinner at Mr. Denis' hotel. The dinner carried a chess theme and named it's bill of fare after players. Huge cakes in the shapes of chessboards, as well as kings, queens and knights in jelly and bishops rooks and pawns in cream adorned the tables. There were statues of Benjamin Franklin carved out of ice. and a confectionary castle to Ca´ssa and a monument to Philidor. As the note to the Congress explained, "It's needless to state how much better the C˘telettes d'Angeau Ó la Bilguer tasted than simple lambchops."
The final match came down to, undoubtedly, the two best players: Morphy and Paulsen. Curiously they had both drawn one game apiece in the last round.
Paulsen was a notoriously slow player. Morphy, who was an unnaturally quick player found this almost unbearable and many attribute one of the draws and the single loss of a game by Morphy in this match to that fact.
Before the 6th game, the game involving Morphy's most
famous queen sacrifice, Morphy and Fuller were dining together and Fuller
"...His patience was worn out by the great length of time Paulsen took for each move. His usually equable temper was so disturbed, that he clenched his fists and said, "Paulsen shall never win another game from me while he lives." and he never did."
Morphy's Congress games:
At the award ceremony on November11, Morphy, having requested that he not receive any monetary prize if he won, was presented with a silver serving set, note 9 consisting of a pitcher, four goblets and a salver in lieu of the original $300.
After the tournament Morphy played many casual games, refusing no one who asked to play, but he refused to play for for stakes which "pleased them the more."
A match was arranged between Charles Stanley and Morphy at odds of pawn and move and with stakes set at $100 a side. The score was +4 =1 in favor of Morphy, but even the drawn game was due to a hasty move by Morphy. According to Fiske, writing to George Allen:
In a second letter to Prof. Allen, Fiske wrote:
Mrs. Stanley was pregnant at the time and when the baby girl was born in December, she named her Pauline, after Paul Morphy.
Morphy left New York on December 17 and reached New Orleans just before the New Year.
While in New York, Morphy a known total of 94 even games (+85 -4 =8); 159 games at various odds (+104 -36 =19); 3 blindfold games (+2 =1) and 1 consultation game [Morphy vs. Fiske-Fuller-Perrin] (-1)
The Staunton Challenge